Monday, August 18, 2008

Ss Sun

Today we officially finished our first unit!

I already recorded the first day a couple of posts ago, so here are some of the activities we did on the other days:

Tuesday we put grapes in a glass bowl in the window to see how long it will take them to turn into raisins. Every day Hannah drew a picture of what they looked like so she would have a record of the changes. (This was a really cool "double whammy" science lesson because (1) it showed her that the sun causes things to dehydrate, and (2) it gave her some practice with observating an experiment and recording the results.) They're somewhere in between grapes and raisins right now, so we'll post her chart when she's all finished with it.

On Wednesday she got her badge. This is something that will change from unit to unit. It has a picture of what we're studying during that unit, along with her special words to remember. She wears it wherever we go so maybe somebody who doesn't know Jesus can meet Him for the first time or at least learn a little something new about Him! Her badge for this unit has a picture of a sun, and her special words to remember are "Jesus is the light of the world."

On Thursday we had a great time making a sundial and recording where the shadow was every hour on the hour. We started at 9:00 in the morning (a miracle in and of itself) and kept it up until 6:00 in the evening, when it began to rain. (But at least we had 9 hours of really great shadows and dry project board! Thanks for that, God!) Hannah noticed that the shadow lines were moving around kind of like a clock and that they were getting shorter. She guessed that they would just disappear, but was surprised to see that they moved to the other side and started getting longer again. We talked about how the sun moved across the sky from east to west, which makes the shadow move across the board on the opposite side (from west to east). She was curious as to why the shadow got shorter and then longer again, so we went inside and played with a flashlight and craft stick so I could explain it to her.

Friday was the best day!!! We put Millie to bed and let Hannah stay up a little late so the house would be nice and dark. Then we got out the globe and flashlight and showed Hannah how the sun causes day and night on the earth. We have some friends who are in the process of adopting a daughter from China, so we taped a picture of Hannah to the United States of America and a picture of Sadie to China. Hannah was able to see that the earth spins around, so only half of it has sunlight shining on it at a time. (She previously thought that the sun moved across the sky, then went under the grass so it would be back in the east to be ready for the next day.) She was able to see that when the sunlight was shining on the United States of America, it was nighttime on the other side of world in China. While I was making breakfast the next morning, I overheard Hannah trying to teach this to Camille. She had the flashlight pointed toward the globe and she was telling Millie, "When our Mommy is saying, 'Hannah, it's time to get up,' someone is reading a story to Sadie and saying, 'Time to close your eyes and go to bed.'"

We also took advantage of this time to show her how the sun makes seasons. We explained that right now, even though it's so hot here, it's actually winter where Aunt Rossana is from. We put a picture of Hannah on the United States of America and a picture of Aunt Rossana on Argentina and walked the globe around a light so Hannah could see how the earth was tilted in a certain direction, either toward the sun or away from it. She was able to see that when Aunt Rossana's family was close to the sun and having summer, we were farther away from the sun and having winter, and vice versa. I know she understood that the earth isn't straight up and down and that when we have summer, Argentina has winter, but I don't think she understood that the two were related. A couple of days later she asked me, "Mom, did God hang the earth crooked on purpose?"

And finally, today was our relaxed day. (Day 6 of each unit will be that way.) It is designed to promote a love for literature, so we read a couple of fiction books about shadows and space and did fun projects to go with them. Hannah's favorite project was acting out Bear Shadow by Frank Asch. It was fun watching her be creative with her actions while I read the book to her. She asked what our next fun project was, and I told her we would illustrate two of the ways Bear tried to get rid of his shadow. She asked if she could play outside for a little while first, and I told her yes. A few minutes later, she disappeared. When Millie and I went in to check on her, she was at the kitchen table drawing. She drew one picture of Bear burying his shadow and another picture of Bear hiding from his shadow behind a tree.

On the very first day of our unit, I had Hannah tell me everything she knew about the sun while I recorded it. Here's what she said:

"Sun starts with 's.' The moon reflects the sun. The sun shines to keep us warm. God made the sun. He thought everything was made beautifully. He thought the sun was made beautifully. That's everything I know about the sun. The end."

I had her do the same thing today, and here was her response:

"The sun can't get through our bodies. Jesus is the light of the world. The moon reflects the sun. God made the sun. He thought everything was good, especially the sun. The sun makes a shadow on the ground. The sun shines very bright. The sun is very big. The world turns around, and the sun shines on one side and the other is dark. The sun helps your flowers grow. You can watch the sun when it goes down. It comes up in the east and sets in the west. When the sun goes down, it's called a sunset. The sun shines over us to keep us warm. When the top of the world has summer, then it's winter down below."

<ridiculous proud mommy smile!!!>

As for Millie, she finally learned that the name of the letter is "S" and not "A," and she still remembers that it says /s/. However, she has learned far more important things this week. Life skills, I guess you could call it??? I was changing a poopie diaper one day and she said, "That's poop." I said, "That's right." She said, "We don't eat it." WOW! What would have ever made her consider it?! So I realized that it's fine if my 2-year-old knows the names and sounds of the letters, but it's definitely far more important that she learn about the basics of life!

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